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Forged: Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are Audible – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 213 customer reviews

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By Saganite VINE VOICE on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If Ehrman's previous books, especially Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Plus) and Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them), are any guide, "Forged" will be dismissed in one of two ways. The more progressive Christians will say that Ehrman is not saying anything new, that they have known forever that several of the books in the New Testament were not written by who they claim to be written by. The more conservative Christian will simply dismiss the scholarship as the desperate attempt of a person who hates Christianity and God to find some way of dismissing his message. This second group will also have a mountain of shop-worn workarounds that they think plausibly answer academic scholarship.

"Forged" was not written for scholarly progressive Christians or obscurantist conservative Christians. It was written for the large number of people who more or less accept Christianity as true, or at least a pleasant and socially useful belief system, but who have some questions, perhaps some doubts, and are curious to learn more about their scriptures. Secondarily it is written for people like Erhman himself (and incidentally, me) who were evangelical Christians with a religiously inspired commitment to truth, who find that our dedication to the truth is leading us away from the religion itself. This is how Erhman starts "Forged," with another brief take on his "testimony"--a move from devout evangelical at Moody, to a skeptic at Wheaton, to a critic at Princeton.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't often write reviews, but seeing how basically everyone who has reviewed it so far hasn't even read it, I thought I would help out people who were actually interested in purchasing it.

As usual, Ehrman takes a topic that could potentially bore one to tears and makes it accessible and fascinating. Like all of his popular works, this book was engaging, enlightening and very easy to read. After reading for awhile, I was always surprised how much progress I had made.

As for the content of the book, it is just what you would expect. While he does touch on forgeries a bit in other books (Jesus Interrupted, for example), he really goes into a lot of depth on what went on in the early Christian church, and how people would go about trying to get their views heard, the tricks they used, and how modern scholars work to see through the lies.

It truly is fascinating to learn about how many different viewpoints were being thrown around at that time. Apparently, forgery was so rampant, that some authors would develop little tricks to catch and dissuade forgers. But then forgers would turn around and condemn forging texts, just so people wouldn't get suspicious of their own forgeries!!

One thing that I always appreciated with Ehrman's work, is that he touches on early Christian texts that most people have never heard of. He discusses Gnostic forgeries, anti-Gnostic forgeries, as well as gospels I have never heard of. I was very amused to learn that there exists a "Gospel of Pilate" (forged of course). And it is always amusing to hear that scholars agree that some books of the Bible are forgeries, such as first and second Timothy.
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Format: Hardcover
This was the first of six Ehrman books that I read (or am reading) back to back, and reading them in this rapid way has led to mixed feelings on on this book. I should point out that I have no problem accepting the idea that many of the books of the bible were forged, anyone who reads non-pop christian books will quickly come across these ideas from both conservative and more liberal scholars (although they're rarely called forged). Overall this book wasn't bad, in fact I found it pretty interesting (I originally gave it 4 stars), it covers a wide range of early christian books, gives a pretty decent idea of the variety of early christian beliefs and gives some reasons why scholars debate over some of the books being forged.

While reading this, I had a few problems, the first was just how little of this book actually dealt with forgeries in the new testament canon. Later while reading Jesus, Interrupted, I was surprised to find that it covered many of the same arguments presented here, surely with a book almost 10x the size of that section, you'd find far more detailed arguments but sadly that's not the case. Further he seems to try so hard to prove that books of the new testament are forgeries that he seems to contradict himself, for example in Misquoting Jesus (p.59) while talking about Paul dictating his letters to a scribe, he (Ehrman) throws out the idea that maybe Paul just listed a few points and then the scribe filled in the rest (with his own writing style and perhaps got some of the ideas wrong), in Forged that idea is thrown out.
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